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Showing posts from 2013

Oh Daddy my Daddy

Being a stay at home dad for the first time in my life is not an easy thing. Salmah has reported for duty, and she was put to work straight away from day one. No down time at all. No time to do anything. To rest. To get the house settled. To enrol the kids to daycare, kindergarten and school. To get the Internet setup. Nada. But we have managed so far, fitting in whatever we can into our schedules, and me with my broken toes driving to and fro from Kulai to JB (45 mins each way) to get affairs settled.
And of course, me being the say at home dad.
Like I said it is not easy. There are so many things that I took for granted, things that are second nature to my wife, but a huge challenge for me. Things like getting the kids ready in the morning, making sure that they have eaten, bathed, worn their clothes, nappies, etc. And heavens me how hard is it to mobilise three boys when you need to go out for something? And how many hands does a stay at home Daddy need to manage everything in the…

A Prelude to a Goodbye.

I have been putting off writing this post for a long time now.

I told myself the timing was never right. Or that it was too soon. Or that I had too much going on.
Which I did of course. But today marked a significant milestone in my life here in NZ. We had sent the boxes containing our personal effects that we had collected over the past three and a half years for shipping. A hard month and a half of packing, and a mad sprint to the finish yesterday, where Salmah only slept 45 minutes in 24 hours, and then had to rush off for her final day at her job at 4am in the morning, bless her soul.
But we made the deadline.
And now in as the adrenaline is ebbing out of my veins, I finally get a chance to contemplate on the past three and half years as a Kiwi, and how life was going back full circle, as I prepared to leave these shores.

It is impossible to capture every single experience in a single blogpost, but there are those moments that are impossible to delete from one’s mind.

In my time he…

The Broken Toe Diaries: Day 3 - Trying to achieve normalcy

Two days ago, I broke my little toe, and fractured the toes beside it in 2 different places, after slamming it into a doorframe, while I was half asleep and rushing to see what my baby son was crying about. Turns out his mother was in the room with him, but was preparing my other 2 sons to go to school. So the baby was just being a baby.

And I had broken my toes for nothing.

It wasn't much fun, and it hurt like having a steamroller have its way with my foot.

Fast forward the first 2 days of absolute misery, waiting on a wheelchair at 2 different clinics and lastly the hospital. Fast forward the day after in my PJs, feeling painful, and miserable, full of self-pity and loss of self-worth.

It is now Day 3. The deadline is closing in and I have so much that I haven't done. We are leaving NZ for good in just over 3 weeks' time. So much to do. Packing. Shipping. Writing PhD.

Most pressing is the fact that I have to sell my beloved Honda Odyssey in a few days' time, and I t…


When one mentions the R word (research), a lot of people get images of people in lab coats holding test-tubes, or a formal interview at a plush office, sipping tea or coffee made by the secretary of the CEO being interviewed.

Well, there is that... Yes... but there is also much, much more.
Today's research session can attest to that.
Let me explain.
Today was a tough day. Deadlines galore. I had a teaching session that I had to prepare for. I had to actual teaching session itself. Then I had a meeting about a book that I was copy-editing (to be published in Bangladesh by the way) which was the followup to the 4 hour meeting that I had yesterday. And then there was a going-away party for a few friends who were leaving the country to do research in more exotic shores. Which was really enjoyable by the way. Good food good company. Good singing. A good time.
But it was good to be able to drive home and think about spending the night with the family.
I reached home. Salmah made me a co…

Adel's problem

"Go on, tell Abah"

I heard Salmah tell Adel. Immediately, alarm bells started to go off. Tell me what?

"Tell Abah your problem"

Sirens were adding to cacophony in my anxiety at what was going to come next. What did he do? Was he in trouble? Did he break something?

And so, hesitantly at first, he started telling me what he had told his mother in confidence. He was in a dilemma. He had two friends at school what wanted to play with him every day, at the same time.

What?? I thought. That's it??

He continued - he didn't know what to do. Normally he set a challenge for his friends to see who got to play with him, and it seems like every single time this one particular one kept winning. Leaving the other one in the lurch.

So?? I asked. Why not play with them at the same time?

Adel murmured something that I couldn't quite hear.

I was getting a bit impatient as in my mind I had more important things to do. I was in the middle of editing a photo, and I was slig…

McLeans Island Bike Trail

McLeans Island in the outskirts of Christchurch is a hidden treasure for Cantabrians to discover. I've lived here for the past 3 years, and this is actually the first time I'd been here.

We started off later than we had actually planned. Quite a few things happened to cause this, and it was probably a miracle that we even went at all. First of all, I wanted to transfer the child seat rack from my wife's bike to my new bike. Transplant unsuccessful. Reasons? Frame too big. And disc brake got in the way. Verdict? Dust off the old Shogun Trailbreaker and use that for this trip. As you can guess this dusting off time went on for a bit longer than expected.

But finally, we were underway after tucking in a sandwich, and getting the bike rack on the car (seriously biking takes up quite a bit of work even before you hit the trail!).

It took quite a bit of time to reach McLeans Island, roughly taking about 20 mins by car, but we finally made it (after getting a bit lost I must admi…


Image by Mentalpirate

I was on a roll last week, writing close to 5000 words in 3 days, and I felt bloody good about it.

You see the thing about feeling good is that it can lead you off track, and make you think you deserve a break. And like the most natural reaction to hard time labour, you feel you've earned it. You stop your writing and think - "Know what? I'll just take the day off and carry on where I left off yesterday. No problem. No fuss. Done and done."

And you take it.

You take that day off. You spend it with the family doing the things that you should be doing as a family, taking them out to the park, shopping mall/movies, and you chill out for the rest of the day. And at the end of the day, you tell yourself - I'll pick up bright and early tomorrow and continue. No problem. No worries.

Except that because you've grown accustomed to working at night (the only time your kids are in bed), you can't just fall asleep, just like that. So you go onl…

Touch-typing and PhD

I hate touch-typing.
I guess I never had the patience to stick it out when I was doing my degree, and this followed through to my masters, my job as a tenured academic… and now this ghost has come to haunt me here. It has come at last to the land of PhD, where I am struggling in my final year writing up the thesis.
But why bring this up now? Haven’t you managed well enough so far? Why shoot yourself in the foot now?
Well, frankly, it’s to do with my wrists. And my neck. Several years back I developed carpal tunnel syndrome, which I first realised when I was playing video games on my Xbox. And then it became painfully obvious when I bought my first motorcycle where I could only ride a few minutes before I lost all feeling in my hands and arms, especially the left one. And doing all this typing writing up my thesis isn’t helping either, as the pain became more pronounce the longer I spent time on it. And did I mention the neck? Do you have any idea how painful it is having to alternate bet…